So far, the Bruins' offseason earns a failing grade
Bean: Bruins Offseason is getting an F that originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
While trying unsuccessfully to explain why no good teams were giving Taylor Hall the measly deal with Buffalo, I came across this piece on The Athletic.
The Basics: Jonathan Toews is upset and disappointed with the Blackhawks' off-season. They are clearly being rebuilt and will stink for the next season, which is different from Boston's situation. But how are the veteran Bruins stars feeling right now?
Torey Krug is gone, Craig Smith, third, has been brought in and Kevan Miller has been reinforced again.
So far it has, and any "Oh, well, they're probably going after [Player X]" has been proven wrong.
B's should target one of these FAs after Hall selects Sabers
Hall signed with the Sabers for a year and $ 8 million. Erik Gustafsson, a potential replacement for Krug, took just a year and $ 3 million to sign with the Flyers. Tyler Toffoli has a four-year contract with the Canadiens. Nate Schmidt was available for a damn third round selection in 2022.
The Bruins, as you learned in the playoffs, weren't the world champions their regular season performance suggested. Even if there had been no interruption or if Tuukka Rask had stayed in the bladder, they would have been easy work for the eventual cup winner Lightning.
And with the first wave of offseason moves, they're worse than last season.
So for all of us who have wondered if the Bruins will be making one last big push so far with this group of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci (who is in the last year of his contract), Rask (the same) and Captain Zdeno Chara. It's a "no".
Chara remains a free agent. It is confusing when Don Sweeney puts the signing of Kevan Miller in a contract for more than the minimum. When the Bruins didn't immediately rebuild Chara, it stood to reason that maybe there was a plan to move someone else to the left side, where both Krug and Chara are playing.
They didn't trade for Oliver Ekman-Larsson, however (a smart move to avoid) and Gustafsson was not brought in despite being available for peanuts. What are you waiting for with Chara?
While asking questions, why do we give this group the benefit of the doubt? They can still make moves - at least they still need a left wing in the middle of the six, though they might need D-Help if they don't rebuild Chara - but expecting the right ones might be a bit optimistic.
When the news came that the B were drawing their offer from Krug, I thought they were aiming high offensively, maybe with Hall. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought that. Sweeney has been poor in the free hand in the past so it should come as no surprise to overtake Hall in the front or Gustafsson in the back when both were bargains.
Why Smith Was an Excellent Free Agent Move for B's
After Smith and Miller signed, the Bruins run out of space. They could do more here and there by giving away players like John Moore and Nick Ritchie. Right now they're about $ 11 million below the cap, with restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk not yet signed. Either of these could be used as a chip if the Bruins want to make a splash through the trade.
Losing Grzelcyk would risk draining the entire left side of the team. So don't expect that. DeBrusk would be perfect as the third line left wing alongside David Krejci or Charlie Coyle, but that only happens when the team finds a second line left wing. Mike Hoffman is the best out there, but at 31 he may not be as ready as Hall to get a team-friendly deal.
Sweeney said Sept. 9 that the Bruins "wanted to make some changes". This group is guilty of just looking and not acting in the past.
Sweeney's work for the off-season is obviously not over yet, but it has to get a lot better if the Bruins are yet to get another big boost with their long-standing core.
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